U.S. stocks little changed as jobless claims temper Europe

Jobless claims fall to 365K

U.S. stocks were little changed, following yesterday’s retreat in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as a bigger-than-forecast decline in American jobless claims tempered concern about Europe’s economic outlook.

The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,402.51 at 9:31 a.m. New York time.

“The jobless claims are good,” Philip Orlando, the New York-based chief equity strategist at Federated Investors Inc., which oversees about $370 billion, said in a phone interview. “This gives us the read-through that May’s jobs numbers are likely going to be better. Yet tomorrow’s report will still be consistent with this temporary soft patch. Europe is going to stay on the front page. There’s potential headline risk there.”

Equities were little changed as jobless claims fell to 365,000 in the week ended April 28, a one-month low. The median forecast of 46 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for 379,000 applications. Stocks fell yesterday as American companies added fewer jobs than economists projected. A Labor Department report tomorrow may show that employers added 160,000 jobs in April, while unemployment held at 8.2 percent.

     Concern about Europe’s economy grew as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the economic outlook in the euro area is subject to downside risks as the sovereign-debt crisis damps growth momentum. The ECB left its benchmark rate at a record low of 1 percent.

     The S&P 500 has risen 12 percent in 2012 amid better-than- estimated economic and corporate earnings. About 71 percent of S&P 500 companies that reported results since the start of the earnings season have beaten projections, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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